On June 21, 2022, Cole Swindell released “She Had Me at Heads Carolina” as the third single from his album Stereotype. It peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it Swindell’s highest charting appearance to date.
The song also ranked No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, and it reached the top of Billboard’s Country Airplay chart.
Meaning Behind The Song
Written by Cole Swindell alongside Ashley Gorley, Jesse Frasure, Thomas Rhett, Mark D. Sanders, and Tim Nichols, “She Had Me at Heads Carolina” tells the story of a boy from South Georgia who’s smitten with a girl after she belts out Jo Dee Messina’s “Head Carolina, Tails California” during a karaoke night. He then joined her on stage and, afterward, spent the entire evening together in deep conversation.
Now, whenever he hears “Head Carolina, Tails California,” it brings him back to the girl who shares his love for ’90s country tunes, leaving him longing for another chance encounter.
According to Swindell, the song came to life during his songwriting collaboration in Nashville, Tennessee, with country singer Thomas Rhett and songwriters Jesse Frasure and Ashley Gorley to create his album Stereotype.
Swindell and Rhett toured together in 2021 and later found themselves motivated to create a song referencing a ’90s country hit. Swindell and Frasure decided to draw inspiration from it after hearing about the popularity of Jo Dee Messina’s 1996 debut single “Heads Carolina, Tails California” from a publisher.
Initially, the four writers envisioned the song as a duet between Swindell and Rhett, intending to structure it parallel to Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney’s “The Girl Is Mine,” which was a massive hit in 1982. However, Rhett expressed discomfort with the lyrical theme, so they opted not to pursue it as a duet.
Swindell also revealed that he approached Messina, letting her know he would not release the song without her consent. He also expressed his desire for her to be part of the song, leaving the extent of it entirely up to her, given that she’s the original artist.
So, on November 7, 2022, a remixed version of “She Had Me at Heads Carolina,” featuring Messina, was released.
Dive into the vibrant beats of Cole Swindell’s “She Had Me at Heads Carolina.” Check out the link below to revel in this nostalgic and upbeat melody!